Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Health Matters...True or False?

As we embark onward in 2008, this is the time of year when we tend to look at our health. Fitness club memberships peak (only to drop off by May), and various diet pills, home gyms, and weight loss schemes promise to make us healthier.

It's amazing how many of these products prey on our belief in health and medical myths.

Here are a few interesting ones:

Drink at least eight glasses of water a day. It's true many of us don't get enough water, but there's no need to go crazy. We get plenty of water from eating fruits and drinking juice and coffee. If you drink too much water, you could actually get very ill from hyperhydration. I did a post on this topic last year on a radio contest that killed a woman trying to win a wii.

We only use a small percentage of our brains. I've heard we only use 3% of our brains. And then it became 10%. This is so absurd. If you've ever looked at an MRI scan of a brain in use can easily see that we use a whole lot of our brains. OK, maybe Jamie Lynn Spears uses 10% of hers.

Shaving hair makes it grow back thicker. My sister had very thin hair when she was a toddler. My parents decided to go ahead and shave her completely bald, thinking her hair would grow back much fuller and thicker. I'm sorry, sis, but that was not necessary. When you shave a hair, the new stubble grows without the finer taper at the ends of normal hair, giving the stubble the impression that it's thicker. (I was going to make a Brittney Spears joke here about shaving heads, but I think the Spears family deserves a little mercy).

Reading in dim light hurts your eyes. This is an old wives tale for sure. It might be a little tough to read under a dim light, but it doesn't do any damage. Also, crossing your eyes won't make them permanently stay crossed. This was just mom's way to make kids stop doing it. Staring at the sun, by the way, is true. Don't do it. Ever. Listen to your mother on that one.

Turn of your cell phone in hospitals. Having recently worked in hospitals, they have signs all over the place reminding you to do so. For some time, actually, this was not so necessary. But in the age of bluetooth technology, you do need to turn off the phone. Many medical devices work wirelessly these days as well, and modern cell phones CAN interfere with them. You probably won't kill a patient with a cell phone, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

Learn while sleeping. Many of us are taking on new challenges this year, which means taking college courses or expanding our horizons. The myth involves playing a recording of a lecture or information while you sleep so that it will somehow embed that information into your brain. So not true. HOWEVER, recent research has found that if you do need to learn some information quickly, review it right before you sleep. Most memory consolidation happens during sleep, so anything you read or examine right before you snooze is more likely to be placed in your long-term memory.

Here's to a happy and healthy 2008!


the weirdgirl said...

Happy New Year! And thank you for posting this. Some of these myths drive me absolutely nuts because I hear people saying them all the time.

Though I have to admit my favorite (spouted by an exceptionally ignorant person) was, "I'm not eating any sugar while I'm pregnant because I don't want the baby to be hyperactive."

Damn hyper newborns!

David Amulet said...

I read this right before going to sleep, but I forgot what you said by the time I went to enter a comment.

Happy New Year to you--here's to a great 2008.

-- david

BrianAlt said...

Happy New Year man.

angel, jr. said...

Happy New Year!!
I should start studying before bedtime!!

Rocketstar said...

Happy New Year Phoenix. Yeah, the urban myths people beleive. It's like the cell phones in airplanes. Mythbusters did an epsiode on this and it is total b.s.

Nessa said...

Don't tell people that using their phones in a hospital won't hurt patients. Hospitals are one of the few phone free zones left in the world.

The Spears family loves the attention, so don't hold back.

KC said...

I think studying right before sleeping works well for me. Especially if I'm studying something that I can't quite grasp. All night long I toss and turn and dream about what I was studying and when I wake up in the morning, I usually have a clearer understanding of the subject. Plus I'm really tired and cranky for the rest of the day.

DaBich said...

Thanks for clearing up the one on water. I am a coffee addict, so I was worrying about drinking enough water....whew!
Happy New Year, Phoenix!

ozymandiaz said...

I drink at least eight glasses of beer a day and I know that shaving thing isn't true as I shave my head all of the time and the bald spots just keep getting bigger.

cube said...

Thanks for setting the record straight. As a result, we'll all be smarter in 2008!

Happy New Year to you and yours from me and mine!

Sherri said...

I wondered why bald men always want tho shave their heads! LOL

Mr. Shife said...

Well I know that shaving in dim light is not a myth - that can definitely cause problems. Hope you are having a Happy New Year.

delmer said...

Rats. I was going to say I alway read your blog right before bedtime as I want to retain the info presented here for as long as possible.

I see David beat me to it, more or less. I guess that's what I get for waiting too long to catch up on my blog reading.

Karen said...

"Learn while sleeping"

That's one advantage of getting old! :o)

Orhan Kahn said...

The Spears family deserves no mercy. None.

That is all.

Jamie Dawn said...

I've heard we don't really need to turn off our cell phones while on an aiplane, but I dutifully obey by turning mine off any way. I want to be on the safe side.

I know a lady who shaves her whole face every day just like a man. She has some nasty stubble, but I'll assure her that her beard is NOT growing in any thicker.

I hope your New Year is going well thus far.

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